History of Cooks and Cooking

History of Cooks and Cooking

by Michael Symons, Andrew F. Smith
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0252071921

ISBN-13: 9780252071928

Pub. Date: 01/28/2004

Publisher: University of Illinois Press

Never has there been so little need to cook. Yet Michael Symons maintains that to be truly human we need to become better cooks: practical and generous sharers of food.

Fueled by James Boswell's definition of humans as cooking animals (for "no beast can cook"), Symons sets out to explore the civilizing role of cooks in history. His wanderings take us to the

Overview

Never has there been so little need to cook. Yet Michael Symons maintains that to be truly human we need to become better cooks: practical and generous sharers of food.

Fueled by James Boswell's definition of humans as cooking animals (for "no beast can cook"), Symons sets out to explore the civilizing role of cooks in history. His wanderings take us to the clay ovens of the prehistoric eastern Mediterranean and the bronze cauldrons of ancient China, to fabulous banquets in the temples and courts of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Persia, to medieval English cookshops and Southeast Asian street markets, to palace kitchens, diners, and modern fast food eateries.

This inviting volume--originally published in Australia under the title A History of Cooking--samples conceptions and perceptions of cooks and cooking from Plato and Descartes to Marx and Virginia Woolf. Symons asks why cooks, despite their vital and central role in sustaining life, have remained in the shadows, unheralded, unregarded, and underappreciated. "People think of meals as occasions where you share food," he notes; "they rarely think of cooks as sharers of food."

Considering such notions as the physical and political consequences of sauce, connections between food and love, and cooking as a regu-lator of clock and calendar, Symons provides a spirited and diverting defense of a cook-centered view of the world.

About the Author:

Michael Symons is the author of One Contin-uous Picnic: A History of Eating in Australia and The Shared Table.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780252071928
Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
Publication date:
01/28/2004
Series:
The Food Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
1,377,791
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.90(d)

Table of Contents

Preface ix
To Pick One Cook
1(14)
Part One WHAT DO COOKS DO?
Distributing Goodness
15(18)
'A Good Bank Account, a Good Cook, and a Good Digestion'
33(23)
'An Empire of Smoke'
56(32)
What Do Cooks Do?
88(22)
'On the Physical and Political Consequences of Sauces'
110(23)
Slices of Life
133(25)
Festivals, Beauty and Love
158(27)
Part Two SHARING AND CIVILISATION
'The Pudding that Took a Thousand People to Make'
185(26)
Eve and Adam
211(14)
The Settled Hearth
225(15)
The Temple as Kitchen
240(24)
Sovereign Consumers
264(33)
The Sons of Mama Camous
297(26)
Freedom from Cooks?
323(29)
Angels Must Eat
352(8)
Acknowledgements 360(1)
Bibliography 361(15)
Index 376

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